The duties of a Transport Manager

'Effectively and continuously managing transport activities'

A Transport Manager’s responsibility is to effectively and continuously manage the transport activities of the operator. A Director’s responsibility is to hold the Transport Manager accountable. But what does “effectively and continuously managing transport activities” actually mean? 

Transport Managers are relied upon to ensure that operators are operating safely and compliantly. As such, all licence holders, aside from those holding restricted licences, are required to have an appropriate Transport Manager in place.

Links to licence holders

Transport Managers can be either internal or external. 

Internal Transport Managers should effectively and continuously manage the transport activities of the operator. They also must have a genuine link to the licence holder. There are a number of ways in which a genuine link can be established, these include the Transport Manager holding the licence in their name or being employed, either full-or part-time, by the operator.

An external Transport Manager, rather than committing to effectively and continually managing transport activities, must confirm that they will perform their work within the interests of the licence holder. Additionally, external Transport Managers can only perform that role for a maximum of 4 operators, where the combined fleet of authorised vehicles is 50 or less.


Transport Managers have a variety of responsibilities which include:

  • Making arrangements to ensure that drivers comply with drivers’ hours and tachograph rules, and with speed limits.
  • Making arrangements to ensure that the vehicles are maintained properly, including the inspection of vehicles at the appropriate time and the action taken to remedy defects found.
  • Reporting and recording vehicle defects highlighted by drivers.
  • Establishing the method of compilation and the accuracy of all records, which must be kept for a period of no less than 15 months.
  • Making arrangements to ensure that the vehicle/s are not overloaded.
  • Ensuring that authorised vehicles will be kept at the authorised operating centre(s) when not in use.
  • Where appropriate, notifying the relevant Traffic Commissioner (in writing) of all prosecutions and convictions concerning the operator, the drivers and himself within 28 days of the court hearing.
  • Notifying the relevant Traffic Commissioner of his resignation.

Level of involvement and demonstration of control

The level of involvement within the business is particularly important in assessing whether a Transport Manager exercises continuous and effective control over the transport activities. This will be assessed, in part, through the time that is spent with the business. Even where there are only 2 vehicles on a licence, it will still be expected that a Transport Manager will spend 8 hours each week in this role. For a licence with 15–29 authorised vehicles an operator is expected to have a full-time Transport Manager. Therefore, a Transport Manager who lives far from the operating centre may struggle to demonstrate to the Traffic Commissioner that they are able to satisfy this role.

The requirements on a Transport Manager should be carefully considered before being entered into. A Transport Manager can be disqualified from the role by the Traffic Commissioner and this prohibition would apply across the whole of the European Union. For this reason, Transport Managers need to be aware of their obligations and ensure that they are satisfying them. For instance, if a Transport Manager’s working hours are reduced, they should notify the Traffic Commissioner. Additionally, if a Transport Manager becomes aware of activity that they feel is inappropriate and they are uncomfortable with, they should seek advice as soon as possible. Transport Managers should also resist being added to a licence in name only and having no connection with the Operator. The alternative is action being taken directly against the Transport Manager.

Just as with Operators, there is a degree of trust between Transport Managers and Traffic Commissioners. Therefore, Transport Managers need to be proactive in managing their obligations and should update the Traffic Commissioner as appropriate in order to ensure there can be transparency and confidence within this working relationship.

This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.

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Joanne Witheford

Senior Solicitor - Deputy Head of Road Haulage & Logistics

I am a regulatory lawyer specialising in health and safety, manslaughter defence and road transport law.

Lee Foulser


I am a Director in the Commercial Insurance team based in Manchester. I handle a wide range of complex and high-value matters for the firm’s leading insurer clients.

Vikki Woodfine

Partner - Head of Road Haulage & Logistics

Best known as the “Lorry Lawyer” I am also Head of the Road Haulage & Logistics group at DWF and specialise in health and safety defence work and road transport law.